“Most people think of a TBI as a traumatic brain injury. I think of it as a Totally Brilliant Individual.”
Sherri was a young married mom, pregnant with her second child, and working as a network engineer at Strong Memorial Hospital when a virus changed her life forever. After treatment that involved extended hospitalization and surgery, she delivered her second healthy baby boy. But, unfortunately, Sherri suffered permanent brain damage due to complications from the virus. She was left with depression, short-term memory loss and faced a long rehabilitation with intensive support.
But this isn’t a sad story. Sherri’s story is one of hope and determination. Because of the help she received from EPI and several other community agencies and because of her incredible spirit she is leading a very full life. Sherri’s life looks much different than it did before the TBI, but she is making the most out of every day.
Now divorced, Sherri lives alone in an apartment in Rochester and has home and community support from EPI, other agencies, her family, and her ex-husband. At EPI she is part of the structured day program. Physically she has done well but she suffers from permanent short term memory issues that she has learned to not only accept but embrace.
EPI staff help Sherri with her cognitive skills and have helped her establish connections with others. She has drawn closer to her parents and is excited to see her teen-age sons once a week. “Sherri is making a life where she is,” said Sinsebox. “And she’s not done achieving yet.”
Sherri works hard spending 5 days a week at EPI. “At EPI I like being together with other people who have had similar experiences,” said Sherri. They work on memory activities together and she directs games and teaches classes like fitness when not restricted by the pandemic. Ironically, Sherri has an excellent long-term memory and can talk about people and events from years ago. Kareny Morales, a Structured Day Habilitator, calls her “a human dictionary,” and says, “If we don’t know a word, we ask Sherri.”
Sherri is strong and outgoing and appreciates all the help she has been given along the way. “There is a light inside of Sherri that is so bright and when you talk to her the positivity and the good energy and her engaging spirit flow,” said Jeff Sinsebox, EPI President. “The spirit is hers and the recovery is hers. Our staff has just been there to nurture and support her and move her along on her path.”
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